Groupon is allowing what could amount to tens of thousands of merchants to artificially inflate their prices on their services so that their Groupon discount is greater and more appealing than a competitor who does not inflate their prices.
I joined Groupon at the end of 2017 to call out my competitors and put all of us on a fair and level playing field. As part of joining Groupon my condition to Groupon was that they need to enforce their own Terms and Conditions which states; “Merchant agrees that in providing the Merchant Offering, Merchant will not inflate prices or impose any additional fees, charges, conditions or restrictions that contradict or are inconsistent with the terms stated on the Voucher, including the Fine Print.”
This condition was noted in my December 6, 2017, email to Mary LaPlaca, Merchant Development Director | Health, Beauty & Wellness Desk: (773) 696-4279.
Mary immediately responded with; “Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I talked with Sonny (her colleague) about the other competitors and we have a plan in place to have them updated. Thank you for letting us know about that issue! We agree, it is false advertising and we do not allow that to happen.”
Well, nine weeks later and nothing has been done about it. I call Mary now and then to follow up and I get her voicemail assuring me that she will return my call within 24 hours, but so far not one call back. However, Sonny did call me back to let me know Mary had the flu and that Groupon was still working on the matter.
To help Mary, Sonny, and Groupon, here is a list of cryo operators in my area who have embellished their Groupon prices. If you find your name here and you have realigned your Groupon prices to reflect your actual prices, I’ll give you the courtesy of letting people know. In no particular order:
Arctic Zone Cryotherapy, Stuart.
Break Free Cryotherapy, West Palm Beach.
Integrated CryoHealth, Jupiter.
Frio Cryotherapy, West Palm Beach.
Palm Beach Cryo, West Palm Beach.
Florida Cryobar, West Palm Beach.
As a small business owner in the cryo industry, I am saddened that my competitors cannot play fairly. This should also send a BIG RED FLAG to clients who do business with these fraudsters. If they have to cheat to make their business work, then it follows that they may cheat at the service they provide their clients. Or they may cheat on their office safety levels. Once that can of worms is opened, it’s very hard to close it.
We also need to keep our industry safe to protect our clients and our staff. Several of the companies listed above store their liquid nitrogen tanks right next to their cryo machines. They proudly display these tanks on their own website and Facebook photos.
I have already warned you to watch out for these sloppy operations which can hurt you or even take the life of a loved one. Here is an article about a liquid nitrogen leak at a sperm bank which took the life of a deputy sheriff and injured several others: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/xytex-sperm-bank-s-nitrogen-mishap-sparks-federal-investigation-n717466
I urge local building departments issuing construction permits, fire departments inspecting the cryo premises each year, liquid nitrogen suppliers visiting a cryo site each week, and distributors of cryo machines to ensure each cryo operation is storing their liquid nitrogen in a separate room away from the public and staff with an oxygen sensor tied via a relay switch to an exhaust fan.
As a cryo client if you visit a cryo operation and you see their liquid nitrogen tank(s) stored next to the machine please do not use that facility and as a matter to help our community, call the local fire department and alert them.
When I looked at the Groupon merchants on a national level I was amazed to see more often than not Groupon merchants had over-inflated their prices. This is obviously a systemic problem across the nation and even overseas, and so far it is very suspicious that Groupon has no idea this is going on. This not only affects the cryo business on Groupon, but it looks like every service business has these price inflation problems.
I guess Mary’s ears were burning since she just called and said Sonny will be in the loop to see about this price inflation problem.
As a client, you may know that Groupon gets a substantial cut when a Groupon is purchased. Other merchants have told me that when a potential client calls them about the Groupon before they purchase it, the merchant will tell the client that they will give the client the Groupon price if they buy directly from the merchant and bypassing Groupon.
In closing, before you buy that Groupon, visit the store and see for yourself if it is safe with the liquid nitrogen. Always, look before you leap!